Discover why the Kikuyu do not Say “10.” : The Kikuyu narrative starts on a ridge to the north of Muranga town and to the south of Nyeri. Here, in front of the ethereal, snow-capped peaks of Kirinyaga, god Ngai gives Gikūyu, the first Kikuyu man, instructions to climb to the summit of Kirinyaga, where he is given the task of establishing “Nyumba ya Mumbi,” or the house of Mumbi. Afterwards, Ngai sends him Mumbi, his bride.
Mumbi and Gikuyu had ten daughters together, but they referred to it as “full nine” because it was considered unlucky to mention the number ten. The house of Mumbi, which consists of the nine Kikuyu clans of Achera, Agachiku, Airimu, Ambui, Angare, Anjiru, Angui, Aithaga, and Aitherandu, was forged by these nine daughters at the location of the fig tree.
This is the mythology. It’s still unclear where the Kikuyu’s forefathers moved to following the first Bantu invasion out of West Africa. According to some academics, they moved from prior communities more to the north and east to their current location near Mount Kenya.
According to some ideas, they came into Kenya from places further north, along with their closely related eastern Bantu neighbors the Embu, Meru, Mbeere, and Kamba.
Based on archaeological evidence, they arrived at the northern side of Mount Kenya (Kirinyaga) around the third century, belonging to a larger group called the Thagicu. By the sixth century, there was an Agikuyu settlement in Nyeri at a location known as Gatuang’ang’a.
The Kikuyu people, who first arrived in Mount Kenya in the 13th century, depended on land acquisitions, blood-brotherhood (partnerships), and the adoption and absorption of neighboring tribes through intermarriage in order to increase the size of their domain.
No one personifies the unique bond between the Kikuyu people and their homeland more than Jomo Kenyatta, the country’s first president. In his book Facing Mount Kenya, the Kikuyu author noted that “every Gikuyu man has a great desire in his heart to own a piece of land on which he can build his home.”
The Kikuyu were excellent farmers because to their love of the land, but at the height of Kenya’s independence movement, this same love of the land would put them directly in the way of the British colonialists. As astute businesspeople, they are credited with supplying Kenya with three presidents and currently hold a sizable portion of the country’s wealth.
The Gĩkũyũ, also known as the Kikuyu, were and remain monotheists. They call the all-powerful deity they worship Ngai. This name is used by the Kamba and Embu. Mũrungu was another name for Ngai among the Meru and Embu.
A Kikuyu warrior.
In Zambia’s extreme south, among the Zambezi, is a word variation meaning God, called Mũlungu. Every sacrifice offered to Ngai was carried out beneath a sycamore tree (Mũkũyũ). If there was no sycamore nearby, a fig tree (Mũgumo) would be utilized instead. For women, the olive tree (Mũtamaiyũ) was a sacred tree.
The Gĩkũyũ believed that everything in the universe is interconnected. They believed that everything we see possesses a spiritual essence. God, who had the ability to both create and destroy life, was the source of this spiritual vital force.
The Kikuyu people believed that god was the highest deity in the cosmos and that he was the source of life (Mũgai/Ngai) for everything in existence. Furthermore, Gĩkũyũ people held that everything that God created possessed an essential inner energy that bound it to him just by virtue of the fact that he made it and gave it the inner power that causes it to manifest physically.
According to Kikuyu legend, Ngai possesses human traits. He occasionally visits Earth to examine it, give blessings, and administer retribution. Ngai takes his break atop Kilimambogo (kĩrĩma kĩa njahĩ) and Mount Kenya when he arrives. Thunder is the embodiment of his motion and lightning, his tool for paving the path between hallowed sites.
The Kikuyu kept track of time by circumcision at their initiation. A unique moniker was bestowed upon each initiation group. These unique initiation sets were subsequently grouped into a regiment every 9 calendar years. There had to be a period of time during which no boys were initiated before a regiment or army was formed.
Known as mũhingo, this era spanned nine seasons or 4.5 calendar years. After that, initiation would begin at the beginning of the fifth year and continue annually for the following nine calendar years. This was the Murang’a, Metumi system that was implemented.
The method in Gaki, Nyeri was the opposite; initiation occurred once a year for four calendar years, after which there was a nine-year interval during which no boys would be initiated. Special names would be assigned to the regiment or army sets; some of these names appear to have been well-known among individuals. Every year, however, girls were initiated.